Two years ago, HuffPost Hawaii was launched to put the spotlight on the Islands, not just as a postcard, but as a community, as Arianna Huffington said at the time. And from the very first story listing vital Hawaiian words to live by to the many insightful blog contributions along the way, we have come to love (LOVE) the land of a thousand rainbows.
How do we love it? Let us count the ways:
2. Beach ingenuity
Forget just swimming and surfing, when people spend this much time at the beach, they get insanely creative about how to enjoy it:
3. Our surf-crazed weatherman
We love you, Guy Hagi, we really do.
6. Our bad-ass wahine
From eco-minded free-divers who swim with sharks to inspiring Tarzan children who live to spread aloha, chances are if you grow up in Hawaii, you're going to be pretty darn cool.
7. Our kane do pretty well for themselves, too
Good form, Barry. Good form.
8. PidginWhere's the fun in only using one language? In Hawaii, if you want to understand the weather report or even the menus, you need to know some basic Hawaiian words as well as Hawaiian pidgin.
9. People watching in Waikiki
Because where else can you be surrounded by swarms of truly happy, unguarded people on vacation?
11. The rain
What can we say? Rain in Hawaii has so much personality that ancient Hawaiians had 200 names for it -- and they're all beautiful.
Passion. Orange. Guava. The taste takes you back to your hana butta days, or your last interisland flight on Hawaiian Airlines. Either way, we're pretty sure it's addicting.
There are many intriguing stories behind the fiery goddess of volcanoes, but here's one warning you should heed: Offer her aloha (and maybe a little gin) or respite.
14. Pau hana
Because, in Hawaii, happy hour isn't limited to just one hour.
It's not just a hashtag, it's our motto -- and it says a lot about how we live our lives.
16. Aloha Fridays
It's the original casual friday and also the best dressed.
17. SPAM Jam
Because SPAM musubi is just the beginning of SPAM's deliciousness.
20. It's unreal
That's the only way to describe the experiences you have here, and we have an entire website to prove it.
21. We have surfing pigs
And he's a rock-star. Meet Kama.
22. We have so much fun, it's sometimes illegal
From climbing up 4,000 steps on the "Stairway To Heaven" to sliding down an outrageous 60 foot water slide, even Hawaii's illicit attractions are amazing.
25. Snow days
Because just when you think you have Hawaii figured out, it snows on the Big Island.
Because the entire state is obsessed with one wave:
27. "The Happiest Man In America"
The "Happiest Man In America" lives here, but he's not the only one. Hawaii locals are less stressed and happier than residents of any other state -- they also live longer.
The rest of the country can have their dueling banjos. Our deliverance is in these dueling ukuleles.
29. You never need to live anywhere else
Once you live in Hawaii, it ruins any chance you have to live a "normal" life on the mainland.
31. We're home to magic.
Where else can you find fiery water and beaches made entirely of sea glass?
Demographically, Hawaii has the highest percentage of multiracial-Americans, as well as the lowest percentage of white Americans of any state.
33. Eddie Aikau
Because when we say "Eddie Would Go," it's an invitation to be brave, courageous and to look out for one another.
36. We spread our aloha
Because even though we have serious problems here at home -- including homelessness and an astronomical cost of living -- Hawaii is always looking for ways to spread the aloha.